Life & Work Skills

Remote Work Is Hard to Turn Off—Try These 9 Ways to Destress & Unwind

ways to destress"
ways to destress
Source: @ron-lach | Pexels
Source: @ron-lach | Pexels

I want to make one thing clear: I am a work-from-home stan through and through. I love not having to overthink what I’m wearing to the office or worry about traffic during a commute, and the simple act of being able to do my laundry during the workday truly brings me joy. But appreciating the perks of a WFH life doesn’t mean that I’m immune to remote workplace anxiety and stress.

Working from home can bring up a whole new set of stressors that can hurt your mood, focus, and productivity. Between internet problems, feeling lonely, and how easy it is to forget the time and work late into the night, working from home is not as relaxing as our work-from-home uniforms (AKA our daytime pajamas) make it seem. This is exactly why it’s crucial to properly identify and practice ways to destress throughout the day and unwind at night. We’re sharing our favorite ways to do just that with you ahead.

1. Enjoy a work-free morning routine

When you work from home, it’s easy to let work take up all of your time. Remind yourself that work is only a part of your life, not your entire life, by stopping yourself from checking email, Slack, or missed calls first thing in the morning. Even a harmless scroll to see what you’ve missed while you were sleeping means you’re going from 0-100 right away (no wonder you’re stressed!).

Instead, ease into your day. Buy an old-school alarm clock so you’re not tempted to check your phone when you turn off the alarm (or better yet, go to bed early enough so you wake up naturally). Meditate, make yourself breakfast, write morning pages, or do calming activities. You’ll feel much calmer throughout your entire day, guaranteed. 

2. Take a workout break

If you’re feeling stressed, stuck, or frustrated, consider taking a break from work and working your body instead. Getting your body moving will not only help you destress at the moment but will boost your energy throughout the rest of the day. Whether it’s a quick yoga flow or 45 minutes of HIIT during your lunch hour, a mood-boosting workout should be your go-to energizer on days when you’re feeling drained or stressed. 

3. Listen to a podcast or mood-boosting music

Playing background music (I love to listen to instrumental jazz playlists while I’m working!) can help you feel more relaxed and even enjoy your time while you’re hard at work. Plus, with music playing in the background, it feels like you’re in a coffee shop rather than at home by yourself. You can also consider listening to a podcast you love (I tune into The Everygirl Podcast, of course) while you work—unless the conversation affects your focus and serves as a distraction, which can make you even more stressed. Another tip? Listening to music or a podcast during your lunch break as opposed to mindlessly scrolling TikTok can help you destress during your well-deserved break.

4. Chat with friends or coworkers

Socialization is probably one of the things you’re missing out on the most as a remote employee. Not only can working remotely feel lonely at times but you can also feel burnt out when you’re not chatting with others or brainstorming with coworkers on projects in a group setting. If a little socialization is what you’re craving, call a friend to catch up—even if it’s just for a few minutes! And if some team camaraderie is what you need, start a Slack channel with coworkers that solely focuses on light-hearted topics like pop culture.

Source: @nadialovesingle | Pexels

5. Get outside

If you have the opportunity to do some work outside, take advantage of it. Working outside will not only give you a (much-needed!) change of scenery, but it can help boost creativity and give you more energy. Try taking your laptop out on the balcony or patio or making conference calls and phone meetings while walking around the block. Even if you can’t do work outside, make the outdoors a part of your day, whether it’s doing your workout at a nearby park, eating your lunch outside, or taking a long walk once you log off for the day as the start of your evening winddown routine.

6. Stick to a cut-off time

The biggest challenge of working from home? There’s no closing time at the office and no 6 p.m. train you have to catch. Especially when you feel like there’s always something you can be doing, it’s easy to work past normal hours and continue working through the rest of your evening. The problem with working all day and night means no work-life balance, downtime, or chance to destress. No matter what you have going on, establish a “closing time” for your workday (like 5 p.m.), and then make sure you’re wrapping up and getting ready to stop working when the cut-off time rolls around. 

7. Create a post-work ritual

There’s a reason children need to have a bedtime ritual before falling asleep: Routine tells the body what to do. Even if we’re too old for bedtime stories, setting up a ritual can make a huge difference in our day. If you’re used to going to the office, your commute home might have been enough ritual to separate work from the evening, but without the usual commute, make your own ritual to turn your “work brain” off and get into relaxation mode. Try changing clothes (even if you’re changing from one set of pajamas into another), working out, or even taking a warm shower or bath to transition out of work mode and into relaxation mode. 

8. Don’t meal prep

For once, we’re suggesting to not prep your meals ahead of time if you need more opportunities to destress during the workday. Take a real lunch break by spending the time to cook a nourishing meal instead of grabbing an already-made lunch and eating in front of your laptop. Chopping veggies or recreating a recipe can act as a meditation to get your mind off work for a little while. Similarly, if you enjoy cooking, use your after-work time to hone your cooking skills—light a candle, play some music, and enjoy not eating your dinner on your couch with your laptop for once.

9. Turn off technology

I don’t know about you, but some days, I feel like I am quite literally staring at a screen 24/7. From my work screen during the day to my phone and TV at night, I am drained, and my eyes are fatigued by the time my head hits the pillow. Implementing tech-free time isn’t for the faint of heart if you love your screens, but trust us when we say it can help you decompress like nobody’s business. Spend a portion of your day dedicated to something other than your technology, whether that is reading a book, taking a bath, or doing something creative (like drawing or scrapbooking) as a way to destress or unwind.